My Journal

Experience and research
"Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially." ~A. Bronson Alcott

As I’ve mentioned before, I write books to experience things I never have and maybe never will.  I write fiction because I can make up the rules; I define what’s realistic.  However, sometimes you’re writing about something that’s never happened to you.  For example, you’re character goes in and out of a coma over the course of a few days.  But you’ve never been in a coma.  You don’t know what it’s like.  So, you have a few options: 1) fudge it, 2) go out and get a concussion that should throw you into a coma, or 3) research it.

I know, I cringe at the word too.  As I’ve said countless times: I write fiction because I don’t have to do any research, come out of my comfort zone, or follow any rules but my own.  But sometimes you just have to admit you can’t just make this up.  So, you research it.  We have a plethora of resources these days: the internet, books, movies, even songs.  Just look around a little.  You’ll be surprised how little effort it takes to find what you need.  And who knows, you’re new information may help you through a writer’s block or help you discover a new aspect of your characters or story you never considered before.  And of course, another option is ask people you know.  If you know someone’s who been in a coma, just ask them to describe it for you.

You can choose option 1 and just make it up, but give researching a try.  Don’t spend too much time researching and don’t worry about getting it perfect down to the smallest detail, but remember that it’s those little details that can make a big difference.

You could also try option 2, but I wouldn’t recommend it.